A Petaluma Flight…

This summer Hubs and I managed to take a break in Sonoma Valley, California.


Wine tasting country.

We soon discovered that drinking heady grape juice from first thing in the morning until sun-down, was not how we wanted to spend our time away from home.

In keeping with the locale I’ve compiled a flight (the term used to sample a selection of wines at a vineyard) of some of the sights and sounds we sampled outside the tasting room.

First on the list was our airbnb in Petaluma, set on acreage in the country, overlooking mountains and valleys and described as a cozy barn loft.


In the stables below us were our hoofed neighbors, stamping their feet and breathing hard through their nostrils with the occasional whinny thrown in for good measure.  They were calm and organic room-mates…I was definitely not in the city when I heard them rummaging around downstairs!

I enjoyed feeding the five of them carrots and having a good laugh together over the fence.


There were 3 mares (mother, daughter and grand-daughter) ranging in age from 6-28 and 2 geldings both in their mid to late 20′s.

In the morning Hubs and I took our coffee and cereal downstairs to watch them being exercised before they were sent off to the pasture for grazing.


Next up were my walks up or down the mountain (how the locals describe the terrain where our lofty barn-home perched) in the cool evening temperatures,

and our home cooked meals made all the more delicious by the series of magnificent sun-sets on offer each night.

Third on my flight was the absence of WiFi or television giving us an opportunity to converse, listen to music, read under a sloping roof


and discover the international humanitarian photographer, Lisa Kristine, whose best-selling coffee table book entitled Modern Day Slavery gained her recognition from the Vatican.  Later in the week we enjoyed more of her work when we visited her gallery in downtown Sonoma.

Fourth were the latte’s in a bowl French-style at a really fancy restaurant called Della Frattoria where we breakfasted a few times,


and other decadent treats around about the area,

like the largest sticky bun ever, to sink our teeth into


at a little place off the beaten track called Wildflour Bakery where the scenery was peacefully  exquisite.


Fifth up was by far our favourite, a visit to the Redwoods, words cannot express the majesty of these incredible trees, so I’ll bow instead to the superior medium of video:

Hand in hand with the redwoods was the petrified forest where trees had been buried under the ash of an erupting St. Helena’s 2.4 million years ago and ossified into stone stumps and granite trunks, a spectacular sight that was cool and smooth to the touch.


God’s creation in Wow Mode!

The sixth sampling took us through the little town of Bodega where Alfred Hitchcock filmed The Birds, in 1963.  We blinked and missed it for the lack of signage and retraced our tire tracks to park next to Alfred leaning against a phone booth with Tippi Hedren inside.  We browsed in an antique shop with stuffed crows perching on every shelf and counter, before taking ourselves off to the beach.

Once there we found no promenade to walk along, a blustery breeze in our faces,

no dripping ice cream cones to lick or Brighton rock to munch on.

Instead we gazed at rocky bluffs with a couple of restaurants hanging from them and considered lunch.

We noticed beach houses on the opposite side of the road that commanded stunning views of the Pacific with all its fierce out-croppings and driftwood shelters; our waiter told us there were no permanent residents along this stretch of coastland.

We paddled in a frigid sea just long enough to catch a snapshot,


then with sand between our toes we wove our way back to Petaluma passing hundreds of cows all decked out in their Dalmatian suits,


I’d forgotten about the Holstein Friesian dairy herds that produce full fat milk, sharp cheeses and heavy cream.

The seventh sighting took us to the town of Napa where we walked along a tidal river colorful with kayaks


and noticed tamed honeysuckle along the river walk, manicured into clusters instead of rambling aimlessly for miles, hugging walls and fences in entanglement.


Number eight was a story told here in a laundromat in Healdsburg where we washed and dried our clothes while helping a homeless lady get change from a non co-operative machine.

And at the end of our lovely stay we packed up and went for breakfast once again at the little frattoria in Petaluma, where we started,


bringing us full circle and setting us on our way back to pick up our lives at Footlights,

refreshed and ready for whatever lay ahead.


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